As a Church of England school, Religious Education carries a high status within our curriculum. Religious Education has a significant role for the development of pupils’ spiritual, moral, social and cultural development. It promotes respect and open-mindedness towards others with different faiths and beliefs, and encourages pupils to develop their sense of identity and belonging through self-awareness and reflection. Pupils will explore Christianity and other world religions, developing their thinking and understanding of the world and their experiences within it.
Through exploring Religious Education, pupils will be given opportunities to study:
- Theology: the study of God and religious beliefs.
- Philosophy: questions of meaning, purpose and truth.
- Sociology: the study of religion, beliefs and practices.
Our teaching follows guidance from the Diocese of Rochester and we have adopted the 'Understanding Christianity' curriculum. 'Understanding Christianity' supports pupils in exploring the significant theological concepts within Christianity as part of developing their wider religious, theological and cultural literacy. This is an enquiry-based curriculum where pupils begin with a ‘Big Question’ to explore and answer, examining core biblical texts and their impact on Christians, and making connections with their own lives and other religions.
There is opportunity for teachers to tailor the approach for their unique classes and pupils. Pupils are encouraged to formulate and pose their own questions, and Religious Education lessons are a safe space for children to explore challenging and sensitive subjects. More able pupils are encouraged to dig deeper within the concepts while children with additional needs are supported to achieve within the Religious Education curriculum.
Our teaching follows guidance from the Diocese of Rochester. 'Understanding Christianity' forms the basis of the Diocesan syllabus together with materials for teaching and learning for the different world faiths. You can find an overview of the units taught in each year group at the bottom of the page.
'Understanding Christianity' supports pupils in exploring the significant theological concepts within Christianity as part of developing their wider religious, theological and cultural literacy.
'Understanding Christianity' is a spiral curriculum where key concepts are built upon and re-visited:
EYFS: Creation, Incarnation, Salvation *
KS1: God, Creation, Incarnation, Gospel, Salvation, Judaism (Yr2) *
LKS2: Creation/Fall, People of God, Incarnation/God, Gospel, Salvation, Kingdom of God, Sikhism (Yr3), Hinduism (Yr4)
UKS2: God, Creation/Fall, People of God, Incarnation, Gospel, Salvation, Kingdom of God, Islam (Yr5), Buddhism (Yr6)
* EYFS and Yr1 explore 'stories from faiths and cultures' to support their growing understanding of Religious Education.
Statement of Entitlement
Our pupils receive the full entitlement of Religious Education as per the guidance of the Diocese of Rochester. Pupils tudy Christianity for at least 66% of the school year (the dicoese recommendation is at least 50%) and as a core subject at Christ Church (Erith) CofE Primary School, RE has dedicated time on every class' weekly timetable; accounting for 10% of timetable provision (the dicoese recommendation is at least 5%).
Teaching & Learning Approach
By addressing key questions, ‘Understanding Christianity’ encourages pupils to explore core Bible texts, examine the impact for Christians and consider possible implications. Each unit incorporates the three elements:
Making sense of the text – Developing skills of reading and interpretation; understanding how Christians interpret, handle and use biblical texts; making sense of the meanings of texts for Christians
Understanding the impact – Examining ways in which Christians respond to biblical texts and teachings, and how they put their beliefs into action in diverse ways within the Christian community and in the world
Making connections – Evaluating, reflecting on and connecting the texts and concepts studied, and discerning possible connections between these and pupils’ own lives and ways of understanding the world.
Each unit begins with a ‘way in’ and then offers teaching and learning ideas for each element. The teacher chooses how to weave together the elements, from making sense of the text, through looking at the impact on the world of the Christian, and helping to make connections with the world of the pupil, in order to achieve the outcomes.
This model shows that the ‘Understanding Christianity’ approach is not just getting pupils to learn what Christians think. Instead, it is about developing skills to help them ‘think theologically’ alongside learning lots of knowledge about the Bible, Christian belief and practice. It also shows that these three elements do not represent rigid, distinct steps, but that pupils can ‘make connections’ whilst ‘making sense of the text’, for example.
To find out more about 'Understanding Christianity' you can visit the website:
Parents have the right to withdraw their child from Religious Education lessons, although it is assumed that if a parent chooses a Church of England school for their child, by doing so, they accept that their child will take part in Religious Education lessons. Parents who do wish to withdraw their child should make an appointment to meet with the Principal, Mrs Ball.
During Autumn term, R.E across the school was focused on 'Incarnation' as it is the term that precedes the Christmas celebrations. Pupils have the opportunity to explore what the Bible says about this important Christian festival and how it impacts on the lives of believers. They have the opportunity to reflect on their own beliefs and opinions, whether they belong to any faith or none.
In the lower year groups, pupils focused on the Nativity and how it is used in Christianity:
Higher up the school, the children began to explore the concept of a 'Messiah':
Pupils will be able to build on their knowledge of where 'Incarnation' fits in the 'Big Story' as they explore other key Christian concepts throughout the year, as well as exploring other world faiths.
During the Spring Term here at Christ Church we participated in a 'World Faiths Flutter'. Each year group explored a faith that they had not learnt about in school before. Pupils were invited to respond to their investigations in a creative way. As always it was wonderful to see our children engaging creatively in their learning. Read on to see some examples from each year group.
In the Early Years, children had an introduction to some of the world faiths and responded with creations showing their own faith or beliefs.
Years 1 and 2
These pupils had an introduction to Buddhism. They learnt about the story of 'Siddartha and the Swan' and how respect for animals is a key belief for Buddhists. Pupils produced some beautiful paper swans.
Year 3 pupils explored some of the beliefs of Judaism. Some of the symbols found in the Jewish place of worship and Jewish homes have been represented by the pupils. These included the star of David and a menorah.
In Year 4, Sikhism was the religion that pupils investigated. They learnt the story of how the Khalsa was formed. They produced some decorative bunting and paper people to celebrate Vaisakhi.
The pupils in Year 5 spent some tome finding out about Hinduism and the festival of Holi. Their creations included some amazing Rangoli patterns, colourful pictures and even some poems about the coming of spring.
Year 6 explored the religion of Islam. They learnt about the festival of Eid and why it is important to Muslims to fast. Some pupils made moon and star mobiles and paper chains that Muslim children may use to decorate their homes.
We are all unique and special - be kind!
It was a great day of learning finding out about faiths that may be different from our own. The most important message Christ Church pupils would like to spread is this... whatever your faith, whatever your beliefs: